View Full Version : Letter to the editor/Thanks

01-13-2005, 11:43 AM
My local paper did a follow-up story on my injuries and recovery. It gave me a chance to write a letter of thanks to many, included the community here at VFTT. The support and good will from people here really added a rosy joyful tint to my initial recovery (although the morphine and other drugs probably helped, too). I thought I'd share the letter and give links to the story and another pice that CBS did a few months ago.
I hope this is an OK place to put this

CBS story:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/12/09/earlyshow/contributors/tracysmith/main660125.shtml
Cambridge Chronicle Story: http://www.townonline.com/cambridge/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=154541
Letter link (but text below): http://www.townonline.com/cambridge/opinion/view.bg?articleid=163187

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I want to thank you for the kind article about me which appeared in the Dec. 30 Chronicle. The interview and the article gave me a chance to reflect on my experience of the last year.

Despite the burns, the smoke inhalation and the months spent in hospital and rehabilitation, I feel both lucky and grateful. I continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness and support I have received. My heroes have been extraordinary and plentiful. While my wife, Ellen, and my entire family have been absolutely wonderful, I am also indebted to many friends and neighbors, to the leadership and congregation of the Hope Fellowship Church, to the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School community and to circles of fellow backpackers and hikers (including members of online communities such as thebackpacker.com, vftt.org, alpinezone.com and the AMC Web site, who visited me in the hospital and sent many cards and letters).

From the firefighters and EMTs, to the staff of the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and the people at Spaulding Hospital and Mount Auburn Hospital, to my insurance adjustor and the people working to restore my home, I have been the lucky recipient of great care and professionalism. I have also been moved by the warmth and support of Burn Survivor support networks, especially the Phoenix Society and George Pessotti's survivor support groups.

Even while waiting for my home to be rebuilt, I am feeling as deeply at home in Cambridge as I have at any time since I first arrived as a newborn at Shaler Lane, around the corner from where I am now staying. From a statement of support and concern by the City Council, to a joint hospital visit from the principal of CRLS and my son (who is a student there), to repeatedly finding that my neighbors, the Walshes, had kindly put away the trash and recycling containers we set out as we tried to sort through and dispose of things at the damaged house, there have been constant reminders that I am securely embedded in a caring and supportive community. Many are those who have watched over all of us during the most difficult times.

On another note, I have learned the importance of having a clear household contingency plan for fires and similar events, and have become acutely aware of the risks related to candles. I have recently learned that candle-related fires have doubled in 15 years. I urge everyone reading this to take a few moments to think about both of these things.


01-14-2005, 08:10 AM
I joined this forum in August so had not been familiar with your story of last February. Thank you, thank you so much for sharing your story and letter with us.
There are so many things one can ponder reading about your experience. The obvious ones such as candle safety and emergency escape routes but also the love of family, friends and community....putting aside petty differences and annoyances of everyday life....kissing our children and mates before retiring at the end of the day....keeping one's body, mind and spirit strong and nourished. Making time to do the things that make us strong and grateful.....Hope you and your family are soon back in your home and make the time to get out into the mountains again when you are able.....
Thanks again.......Jade